Hello new upcoming Wurmians and welcome to the game!
I've been playing Wurm Online for nearly 7 years and still love it to this day. Although I recently joined the dev team, I am writing to you now purely as a long time fan and player of the game, so anything I say here is merely my own personal opinion and the information is in no way "official". It's just me – KatsPurr – the player talking to you now.
I thought I'd share some things that would be good for you new folks to know when getting started:
Hard work equals sweet rewards and memories
Doing stuff in Wurm takes a lot of hard work and time. You'll fail, you'll make mistakes, but in the end… once you've succeeded at something, the sense of gratification and reward is immense and you'll never forget the things you achieved! The only other MMO that has given me these kinds of "permanent" memories of my achievements has been Ultima Online, which I played for 13 years straight, many years ago.
Longevity and security
Since the mechanics and the balance of the game stay pretty much the same from year to year, as a player you can feel secure in knowing that the value of your hard work today, will hold the same value in the years ahead. I think this is such a wonderful side of Wurm. I can't count how many times I worked hard at something in other MMOs, only for the game to be nerfed and for all those hours to suddenly become meaningless.
The player experience just gets better and better and better
In most other MMOs, the game starts out super easy and the further you progress, the more challenging stuff gets. In Wurm, it's kind of the opposite. The harshest, grindiest and most frustrating phase of your character's life will be in the very beginning. Since your skills are so low, this means you'll fail a lot, timers will long and you'll have a small selection of things you can make. As if that wasn't bad enough, your body skills such as strength and stamina, will make it harder for you to carry things around, to climb steep hills etc.
BUT!!! Once you're skills get going, you'll start to notice that you're not failing so much anymore. That stuff is getting faster to make. That you can make more things than you could before and can improve your items to be a higher level than before. That you can carry heavier loads and climb steeper hills for longer etc.
So essentially, the game just gets more and more pleasant to play. What balances things out, is that skill gain is very fast in the beginning and slows towards the end. Hence, veteran players deal with the challenges of attaining those last skill points to max them out.
An explorers dream
For all you explorers out there who love nothing more than to travel the lands, to climb the mountains and to sail the seas – this game is a dream come true. Forms of transportation include riding horses, driving carts, wagons and sailing ships. All of which, you have built piece by piece with your own two hands. The game offers completely seamless exploration. No official boundaries, no blocks, no fake backgrounds. Every mountain you see, can be climbed and also tunneled into. When entering a cave or house, there's no instance being loaded, you just walk right in. If you choose to play on the old servers (Southern Freedom Isles), you will be able to sail over to other old servers – each with their own unique shape. For now, the new servers (Northern Freedom Isles) will remain separated and no decision has been made yet about the future.
All you really need to know…
Yes, the game is massive and very deep. New players may feel intimidated and might interpret that depth for complexity. But actually, at the end of the day, most things work in the same way. So once you learn that "way", you can pretty much figure out the rest. Here is the basic recipe:
You can do most things in the game by either right clicking an item and choosing an option in the context menu (you need to be close to the item to do this for the most part) or… activating an item in your inventory (double clicking it) and right clicking whatever logically matches it. So for instance, you activate your pickaxe, and right click an ore vein and choose "Mine". Or you activate your hatchet and right click a tree tile (note tile, not the tree model itself) and choose "Cut down". You activate a rope and right click a horse and choose "Lead". And so on. Everything works pretty much this way.
Right clicking context menus is not fun for anyone however, so the game has an absolutely fantastic way to allow you to create your own shortcuts. When hovering an option in the context menu, press down the keys you'd like to bind as the shortcut. After a second or two of pressing the keys, the shortcut will "save" and you're good to go.
This is a sandbox MMO, not a theme park
The game is not quest based, although there are a few missions in the game. But the majority of the goals you will have, are set and designed by you. You're given a sandbox to play in, full of toys and possibilities and YOU create your own goals.
There isn't really any backstory in the game, nor are there NPCs with their own histories. Instead PLAYERS are the ones who become legends, and it's THEIR stories that are passed down through time.
No leveling, instead you naturally do things in the game and skills will go up.
No classes. There are no pre-defined templates and restrictions with skills, you can learn everything with one character. The only exception being the priest stuff.
Do you want to be a cook, farmer, animal tamer, swordsman and blacksmith? You can do it all with one character.
Everything has meaning, everything changes, everything ages, everything is player built
In other MMOs, areas will be decorated with objects that cannot be interacted with by the players. They are just there to make the game look pretty. These areas look exactly the same as when the game first launched, so there is little incentive to re-visit places you already explored. In Wurm however, every single thing has a purpose and can be interacted with. And since all roads, guard towers, towns, fences, houses, armor, weapons and items are built by the players, this means that things come and go. So an area that looks one way this year, could look totally different next year. Everything ages and eventually either dies or decays, to make room for regrowth and rebirth. Animals are born, age and die. Bushes and trees do the same. Houses that are abandoned eventually decay away. Seasons change, weather changes, time of day changes. Even the direction of the wind changes which impacts your sailing. This keeps things feeling fresh and interesting.
Inventory is the least of your troubles
In most other MMOs, it's a constant headache to deal with inventory slots filling up in your bank, or storage in your house. In Wurm however, we're not talking about storing dozens of items. We're not talking about storing hundreds of items. No, we're talking about thousands if not hundreds of thousands of items you can store on your deed. There are no limits to how many crates, bulk storage bins, racks and other containers you have on your land. Never worry about inventory again! Organize and rename it all as you see fit.
Grinding your crafting skills is not about quantity, it's about quality
In other MMOs, you have to craft the same old items over and over and over again to get your skills up which is highly boring. In Wurm however, the crafting system is super cool and special. Although you "could" craft hundreds of swords to get your weapon smithing up, what is actually much more efficient to do is to craft only a few swords and then improve them. The action of improving items raises skill much faster.
What's really wonderful about this, is that on your first day, you could craft your very first tool or weapon. Your pathetic little sword or saw might only have a measly 3/100 quality level and would be a real pain to use. Slow… inefficient, needing constant repairs. However fast forward a few years and now that very same item might have been slowly improved over the years to become a glorious 95/100 quality item. And in the process of improving it, it might have turned rare, or even superior, adding a nice glow to it. You might have also added enchantments or runes to it. Now, what used to be a pathetic item does it's job like a boss, rarely needs to be repaired and is fast and efficient to use. And since we're able to give names to our items in Wurm, you could even give it a special name on that very first day, so that years later you'll always know that THAT was your first item and that it's stuck by your side and served you faithfully.
Complete freedom in shaping the land and designing your buildings
Everything can be both terraformed and changed by players. Change the shape of the land through digging or dropping dirt. The farther you dig down, the closer you get to the sea level, eventually being able to dig/dredge below the water surface to create lakes and ponds. Change the biomes of the lands. Convert an entire forest into a desert.
Instead of the game having pre-designed house templates, you design and build your houses wall by wall, floor by floor with the materials you've gathered from nature.
A roleplayers dream
Build your own towns and cities where everyone has their own home. Fully control the permissions of your town gates, to protect the town from those who would wish to grief your roleplaying fun. Build all the establishments, items and props you'll ever need for your roleplay scenarios. A cozy tavern with a couple of stills in the back room, to brew your own beer which you can serve to customers. Create huge fighting arenas and hold events where players fight creatures to the death. The possibilities are limitless.
Animals have unique traits which pass down to their offspring through breeding
There is a long list of both positive and negative traits that animals can have. You control which qualities you want to take forward through animal husbandry. Breed the fastest horses in the lands, or the fiercest hell hounds to accompany you on your hunts.
Help around the clock
In other MMOs, there's not really anyone to help you if you get into a jam. However Wurm has a very unique "community assistance" feature in the form of a chat tab, where very friendly and patient volunteers help players around the clock. Over all the years that I've played, I can't remember a single time where I didn't get a response within minutes of asking my question. If only all games had something like this.
Does the game have flaws? Are the graphics outdated? Is it grindy? Does the combat need work?
Sure. Like any other game, Wurm is not perfect. It's got it's flaws. It's an old game. It's not going to offer instant gratification. You'll get frustrated. You'll deal with hardships. It's not going to lead you by the hand, nor will it tell you what to do. You are ruthlessly plonked into the world and you yourself will have to have the gusto and determination to figure out how to survive. If you stick with it however, you will not only survive but will eventually thrive. The game isn't for everyone, however those who do fall in love with Wurm, fall hard and never look back. The fact that the game is nearly 15 years old and still running is a testament to that fact.
If you are looking for an immersive sandbox MMO that rewards hard work and tenacity, that has limitless possibilities, that feels like a living breathing world, this might just be for you. See you in Wurm!
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